information technology

Romney’s White Whale: Old Man’s IT and the Election That Got Away

Moby Dick

[Illustration from Moby Dick, c. 1925 edition]

ArsTechnica did a comparison between Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s campaigns’ information technology expenditures. They note a few key attributes that differentiate the Romney campaign’s use of IT:

  • Outsource anything that’s not a key competency, and spend as little as possible on it;
  • Reward “friends” with outsourcing contracts;
  • Spend on ad hoc items and pre-built SaaS* (buy from “friends” where possible).

Sure looks like the typical modus operandi of vulture capitalists that don’t invest but hit-and-run on the high seas, looking to harpoon anything of value in order to flay its carcass for cash. This says something both familiar and abhorrent about Mitt Romney and his supporters with regard to democracy.

But there are several other points that ArsTechnica missed in their assessment.

Generational shift — The difference in funds allocated and the way in which the IT monies were spent revealed a compelling truth: old guy Romney doesn’t value information technology the way younger guy Obama does. It’s a generational shift, from old school campaigns which still rely heavily on direct mail and broadcast media, to digital campaigns run by Gen-X and Millennials who are digital natives.

Based on past performance by vendors and team members alike, Obama’s team also trusts the technology team it assembled to do work quickly, effectively, on the fly. They trusted technology.

In contrast, Romney’s camp went with bigger brand name vendors like Best Buy (via service subsidiary) and SalesForce (for customer relationship management SaaS app). In mega-corporate they trust, apparently. Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz Let's not forget the money into the AG election too. https://t.co/SuEYKVgZ9A
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bmaz No McLatchy and Cornyn, the collection abilities will not suddenly "go dark". That is govt rubbish. https://t.co/UiCo5O7zGG
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bmaz @BlanksSlate Gives the one charged a built in defense.
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bmaz @azcwatchdogs @yvonnewingett @azrover @Azcflan @SH_Awards Congratulations guys, well deserved.
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bmaz @carolrosenberg @MiamiHerald @McClatchyCo Very nice. Well earned.
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bmaz Seconded, excellent report. The dark money enforcement mafia is anti-democratic for Arizona https://t.co/NxDZI97Ii6
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emptywheel @JimWhiteGNV Tho i gotta say GA is beating themselves on defense today. @JohnDingell @umichsoftball
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emptywheel @normative At least it doesn't report that Burr is offering a "compromise."
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emptywheel @Atrios That depends. Are you gay?
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May 2015
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